South Africa Travel Destinations
In this article we are looking at favorite travel destinations in South Africa and the best places to visit, some hidden gems, and some well known spots in this beautiful country. Be sure to read the previous article about preparing to travel to South Africa.
South Africa is huge and the scenery is never ending. If you love the bush-veld and wild animals, then we have a place for you! If you prefer surfing, mountain biking, parasailing, cliff diving or anything else, we have a place for you to visit! From dams, to rivers and the magnificent Indian Ocean meeting the South Atlantic Ocean, we have it all!
Preparing for travel to South Africa can be exhausting. This article will give you an entire months worth of travel information compressed into one evening. We will touch on various local places and hidden gems that very few locals know about
Sterkfontein Caves, Gauteng
These caves are home to over 4 million year old animal fossils and hominids. If you are an archaeologist at heart and would like to give it a try, be sure to stop at the Sterkfontein Caves. Sterkfontein Caves is also known as the Cradle of Humankind. Spend the day roaming around and taking in the ambiance of one of the most important excavation sites in the world.
You will find excellent exhibits, great guides, a restaurant, and awesome views that will kick start your visit to South Africa. There are plenty of B & B in the area if you would prefer to spend a day there and rest for your next stop.
Clarens, Free State
The Free state is a couple of hours drive from Gauteng, the drive takes you more inland.
The landscapes are more farm lands and the weather will definitely change from mild to hot.
It mostly consist of vast open spaces with small towns that each have their own hidden gem.
Called the “Jewel of the Free State”, Clarens is situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. Established in 1912 and named after Clarens in Switzerland, Clarens is sprinkled with many interesting little galleries and restaurants, and spectacular scenery on all sides. These sights make Clarens a great battery-charging weekend getaway.
There are plenty of hiking trails such as Angel Wings Trail – a 2 day trail with an overnight hut. There is Bokpoort Mountain Bike Trail, categorized as very difficult and not recommended for children under 16 years of age. Clarens has a local brewery that manufactures local craft beers for relaxing after those long hikes or bike trail rides.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and covers a space of 19,485 square kilometers. To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
Sable Hide, Kruger National Park
At nightfall, this bird hide can be rented as a wild, off-the-grid bush camp with no electricity or luxuries. Elephants are known to slurp from the water just meters away from the hide and you’ll be sure to hear hyaenas howling as you tuck in for the night.
The Kruger National Park is full of wonderful and beautiful places to visit from rest camps to bush camps and even private resorts.
Pongola Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu Natal
Pongola Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu Natal is where I fell in love with elephants. Located alongside Lake Jozini and surrounded by the Lebombo Mountains, the reserve is home to the gorgeous White Elephant Lodge. Offering safari drives, sunset cruises and elephant monitoring activities, it’s also home to the Space for Elephants program, a program responsible for reintroducing orphan elephants into the reserve.
Drakensburg, KwaZulu Natal
While the towering mountain range could hardly be regarded as hidden, the 5km wide amphitheater cliff face is an under-marketed natural phenomenon that draws far fewer crowds than it should. Standing at the base of this sheer tower of rock transports you to a fictional landscape. Hike to the peak of the cliff. The majestic Tugela Falls at the top will make the walk more than worth it. There is some great accommodation with unrestricted views of the amphitheater, an unforgettable sight to wake up to daily.
Durban, KwaZulu Natal
Along the coastline of Kwazulu Natal you will find Durban, the local beach for this area and plenty to do all year long. The temperature doesn’t change that much from winter to summer and the South Atlantic Ocean is nice and warm for the people who love to swim in the ocean. There are beautiful little picturesque towns all along the coast line that you can visit as you make your way towards Cape Point.
Bulungula, Wild Coast
A truly surreal off-the-grid spot along the Wild Coast. Journeying over hills and through dirt roads, far from the main highway is worth it even if you don’t have a 4×4. You’ll stay in a hut overlooking the meeting of a river with the ocean, enjoy freshly-made pancakes on the beach at sunrise and savor the sun setting over the hills as farmers herd their sheep and cattle home.
Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape
A small town scattered with coffee trees that consist of a population of 260 people. Even in this small town, you can keep yourself busy with spear fishing, kite surfing, free diving and snorkeling. The ocean is beautifully preserved and consist of loads of sea life.
All along the coast you can find small towns like these with an abundant plant life and tour guides that would love to show you around.
Cape Town, some may call it the mother city of South Africa. Where the people are friendly and the area is full of daring things to do. The Cape is divided into the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western part. Unfortunately it is just too large to visit in one go. Each area with it own beauty and a wide variety of amazingly beautiful gems.
Johannesburg is the recognizable as the main city of South Africa.
We have only touched on a few places that South Africa is famous for and this doesn’t even make up a quarter of all the exquisite areas. Preparing for travel in South Africa is the easy part, narrowing down places to visit is a completely different issue.
If you love the coast, then create a vacation along the coast line. Beautiful beaches and raging waters will cool your suntan. If you prefer adventure travel with game safaries, mountain biking, cliff diving and hiking then I would recommend you spend more time inland, around the nature reserves. Wherever you go, prepare to have your mind blown away with the beauty of South Africa.